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General San Diego Bay Information
San Diego Bay is under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Harbor Police.
There are four Port District maintained launch ramps throughout San Diego Bay. These are in:
- San Diego - Shelter Island
- National City - Pepper Park, adjacent to the 24th Street Marine Terminal
- Chula Vista - In the J Street Park
- Coronado - Adjacent to the Municipal Pool in Glorietta Bay
All boaters must comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including illegal discharges to land and water. The San Diego Bay is a “No discharge” area. The discharge of black water (sewage) from any vessel while berthed, moored, or anchored in San Diego Bay is prohibited. All boats with installed toilet facilities must have an operable marine sanitation device (MSD) on board. Boats must store sewage in holding tanks and dispose regularly at sanitary stations (pump-out facilities).
United States Coast Guard Inland Rules apply within San Diego Bay.
San Diego Bay is accessed through the Main Shipping Channel that runs roughly North/South and is marked by lighted red and green buoys. Boaters are cautioned to stay in the channel near the mouth of the bay as there are several submerged reefs outside the channel.
San Diego Bay is an active commercial harbor with two commercial wharves operated by the Port of San Diego, and numerous commercial fishing wharves as well. There is also heavy vessel traffic from the U.S. Navy. As a result, boaters need to operate with caution in the bay. Watch for large vessels, as well as smaller ones and be familiar with the rules of the road for boating.
Naval Training Center Channel
There is a 70.5-acre channel in San Diego Bay, adjacent to the Liberty Station Development. This area is under the jurisdiction of the United States Navy. Although the Harbor Police enforces applicable laws in the channel and responds to emergency situations in the area, the Navy is ultimately responsible for any hazards to navigation within the channel, including sunken or abandoned vessels.
The San Diego - Coronado Bay Bridge links Coronado Island to the city of San Diego and spans across the San Diego Bay. This bridge generally divides San Diego Bay into North/Central Bay and South San Diego Bay. The Coronado Bridge has a vertical clearance of 175 to 195 feet in the main shipping channel, with a total height of over 200 feet. The bridge is also marked with a radar marker (Racon) at the center span to help boaters and ships navigate in poor visibility. The San Diego Harbor Police routinely respond to calls for service at the San Diego - Coronado Bay Bridge. Officers conduct security sweeps and anti-terrorism dive checks on the bridge.
South San Diego Bay
South San Diego Bay, south of Loew's Resort and Sweetwater Channel, is a posted 5 mph area. Several cement pylons mark the area.Water skiing is permitted in the Crown Cove area, as well as the area south of the Coronado Bridge and east of the entrance to Glorietta Bay. No beaching of vessels is allowed.
South San Diego Bay has numerous wrecks, shoals and sunken obstructions. Persons operating vessels in the area need to exercise extreme caution when operating outside the marked channels.
There are numerous wildlife refuges in South San Diego Bay. Boat operators are strongly cautioned not to venture into these areas. Sea turtles and various bird species call these areas home, so please be careful as to where you go in South San Diego Bay.